In today's digital society, digital marketing has become more important than ever. Many businesses are turning to their digital marketing efforts to help raise brand awareness, bring in new website traffic, increase conversions, and build leads--and 83% of small business owners believe those efforts are helping them reach their goals. If you want to stay at the top of your industry, however, it's important to understand what digital trends your customers and your target audience are using everyday.
Voice-Activated Search and Digital Assistants
Around 33% of American adults use the voice search feature on their phones at least once a month. Both Siri and Google offer options for voice search and digital assistants can offer benefits to their users, including:
- Hands-free device use
- Allowing people to access information without having to interrupt a current task
- The ability to set schedules, send text messages, dial phone calls, set timers, and complete a wide range of other functions, all without even having to hold the device
When you are utilizing these marketing tools within your business, you are making your brand more accessible to your target audience and potential customers. Speaking to a busy target audience and helping them by providing important information that requires little to no effort can be beneficial to your brand due to the convenience factor. If a consumer has to look too hard to find what they are searching for, or have to disrupt their day, they might end up giving up before even getting to the important and valuable information that you have to offer.
Social media--and the way people engage with it--is changing. Users can now use their social media accounts for more things than ever, including:
- Shopping within platforms
- Creating and interacting in groups, which creates a sense of community
- Paying or sending money in apps, all without leaving the social media platform
Features within many social media apps also help increase engagement and encourage interaction. Many social media platforms offer polls, question boxes, filters, and more, all of which can be used to engage with your target audience and improve their impression of your business.
Increasingly, artificial intelligence is offering incredible opportunities for businesses and private users alike. Artificial intelligence and automation can now take over many of the menial tasks that once had to be assigned to people, allowing them to spend more time on more important and interactive tasks. Artificial intelligence includes:
- The automation of features of sales and marketing, including, in many cases, helping move customers through the sales funnel
- Analysis of consumer behavior
- Email personalization
- Assisting with e-commerce purchases, including acting as a digital "salesperson" who can answer questions or make recommendations based on a customer's needs
- Programmatic advertising or automated ad buying
- Augmented reality: allowing customers to "try before they buy" with services that allow them to see furniture in their space, try on clothes digitally, or see makeup or hair products in use on their own photos
- Parking lot patrol to create a safer environment and reduce crime ratings
Chatbots are becoming increasingly important to many businesses. Effective chatbots can assist in your customer service offerings. While most people prefer a live person to a chatbot, today's digital users are also becoming increasingly comfortable with bots and all of their features--and they're willing to turn to those features to help them meet their goals. The benefits of Chatbots include:
- Automating many conversations you have with your customers on a regular basis.
- Helping save money since the Chatbot can replace many of the functions of a live person and free up time for them to spend elsewhere in the business
- Accessibility of all hours of the day, when the customer needs them, rather than being based on an employee's hours.
Increasingly, businesses across multiple industries are finding that video marketing helps them increase customer engagement and attract more attention to their business.
- Improves conversion rates
- Gives customers something to share with friends and family members, often substantially increasing your reach
- Helps customers make an emotional connection with the content, which may, in turn, be transferred to your businesses
Videos can be embedded on websites and blog posts, allowing them to become one part of a greater piece of content marketing. If you’re looking to incorporate video marketing, look into working with a local media partner. Not only can they assist in the pre-production and production of your video, but they should be able to offer valuable information on how to incorporate the videos into your overall marketing campaign. You can also use the audio from those videos as a stand-alone marketing piece or use thumbnails from the video for marketing purposes, improving the value of each video you make.
People look to influencers for recommendations on products and services that they might want to use. They feel as though they can trust their opinions and recommendations on brands and products that can help them find solutions. Influencer marketing allows you to:
- Get your product in the hands of a real person that people trust
- Allow a trusted representative to showcase them directly using your product or service in their everyday life
- Spread your reach based on the influencer's brand and audience
The visual search option goes beyond a simple word query. It allows users to upload images into a search engine and get results, which can help them find specific products and brands more easily. By implementing SEO best practices into your website, your business can benefit from visual search aids when a potential customer is trying to find you and doesn’t know where to start.
Smart speakers are becoming increasingly common in many households--and smart businesses are taking advantage of it.
- Businesses can make their information easier to access. For example, specific food and beverage companies may offer recipes that can be pulled up with a simple command.
- Businesses can use specific commands for their brand, giving the user access to services and information they need.
Geo-fencing allows businesses to market to people based on their location. If your business is wanting to better pinpoint its reach with more hyper focused marketing techniques then consider working with a local media partner that has the knowledge and the technology to help you do so. Increasingly, more businesses are using this service to get better results with their marketing because it’s allowing them to reach their target audience on their preferred channels and platforms.
How You Can Keep Up
With so many new trends making their way across digital marketing, it can be difficult to keep in the know! To keep yourself at the top of your game, try these important steps:
- Analyze what others in your industry are doing.
- Stay on top of research so you have a solid idea of what's trending.
- Work with a media company that’s in your community and familiar with your industry
- Look for the methods that are doing best with consumers.
- Take your findings and analyze your current marketing plan to see where you can implement these trends into your business.
There is an incredible range of trends across the digital marketing industry, from popular social media trends to the latest artificial intelligence. By keeping up with those trends, you can better position your business for success. One way to keep your brand on top of the digital marketing trends is to work with a media company that is utilizing them within their marketing and advertising efforts. When you partner with the right media company, you will be able to expand your brand’s reach by having the best understanding of the top digital marketing trends and how to incorporate them into your own plan.